Monday, 12 December 2011
Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat – Book Review
Chetan Bhagat goes to GangaTech, a private engineering college in Varanasi to give a motivational lecture and meets its Director, the very young and very lonely Gopal Mishra. Gopal has an obvious drinking problem as well as an urge to tell his ‘story’, something which turns out to be very convenient, since Gopal’s story forms the rest of this novel. Since Gopal is lonely, it’s obvious that he didn’t ‘get’ the girl, the girl being the very pretty Aarti. However, Bhagat is such a good story teller that he keeps his reader on tenterhooks till the end of the book, open to a number of possibilities, wondering how exactly the story would reach the end already revealed at the beginning of the story.
Revolution 2020 has all the usual Bhagat ingredients. It has clichés, a half-decent plot which creaks just a little bit, parts of which could have come from a Harold Robbins or Jeffrey Archer novel, politically incorrect characters who shoot from the hip and could belong to any town in India, drama and a large dose of reality. I just can’t emphasise the last bit sufficiently enough. Clichés notwithstanding, Revolution 2020 takes the reader into the dark underbelly of India’s private education sector, where almost everything involves a bribe or something equally unsavoury. At times, I felt that Bhagat went overboard with this depiction of how bad things can be with private unaided colleges structured as trusts, which which are in reality full-fledged business enterprises. However, a friend did confirm that HR managers at certain large companies do ask for kick-backs from private colleges, ones that are at nowhere at the top of the rankings, to hire from those campuses.
Bhagat’s characters date, kiss, party and sleep around (furtively). Atleast some of them do so. Though this novel is set in small-town India, I did not find this to be unrealistic, given the genuineness of Bhagat’s narration and the changes that are sweeping across India's social landscape.
Bhagat’s language is not spectacular and I did notice at least one grammatical mistake, but on the whole, the English is good enough to convey the story. If you are not too snobbish to watch and enjoy a Bollywood movie, or any other Indian language movie for that matter, you could enjoy Revolution 2020.